How effective is treatment for cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy affects movement and coordination and is caused by problems that occur before, during or shortly after a child is born, for example lack of oxygen to a new-born baby’s brain. It is a lifelong condition for which there is currently no cure, but there are various treatments that can help your child deal with the symptoms of cerebral palsy and allow them to live as full a life as possible.

Medication

There are various medications that can help relieve some of the symptoms of cerebral palsy. These include tablets and injections for muscle stiffness and tightness, as well as the option for a liquid pump that can be inserted under the skin to deliver medication inside the spine. People with cerebral palsy may also benefit from medication for sleeping difficulties, epilepsy and constipation, as well as painkillers and medication to reduce drooling.

Physiotherapy

Exercise and stretching under the guidance of a physiotherapist trained in working with cerebral palsy can result in significant improvements. They can help to encourage movement, increase muscle strength and stop muscles from shortening and decreasing their range of movement. This can enable people with cerebral palsy to be able live more independently by allowing them to carry out more tasks for themselves.

Speech therapy

Many children with cerebral palsy have difficulty communicating verbally, so it is usually very beneficial for them to practice their speech with a speech therapist, or learn other methods for communicating, such as sign language. Your child may also be able to learn to use specialist equipment connected to a computer to generate speech.

Occupational therapy

An occupational therapist can help to work out any problems a person with cerebral palsy has with carrying out essential tasks in their everyday life, including getting dressed or going to the toilet. Then can then help devise strategies and techniques for dealing with these issues, making it easier for those affected to live independently.

Surgery

Surgery can sometimes be necessary to deal with more severe issues, such as major difficulties with movement. A surgeon may be able to restore movement to parts of the body affected by a tight muscle, repair dislocated hips (a common issue for people with cerebral palsy) or correct curvature of the spine, as well as a variety of other issues.

Making sure your child gets the right treatment for cerebral palsy

While much of the treatment a child with cerebral palsy needs is available on the NHS, some services may need to be paid for privately. There also tend to be various other on-going costs involved in helping your child cope with their condition.

If your child’s cerebral palsy was the result of mistakes made by medical staff during their birth, you may be able to claim birth injury compensation. This can help to fund the treatment and support your child needs to live an independent, happy life. If you believe you may have grounds for a claim, it is worth speaking to a specialist birth injury solicitor. They will be able to advise you on the strength of your case and how much you might be able to win, as well as how to proceed with your claim.

About Rachel

Rachel Akers writes about crafts, recipes, and features the adventures of a family of 4. It is always crazy but I wouldn't change it for the world! Comments or questions? Talk to me on Facebook or Twitter or sign up for our RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.